At Chase Lane we want to inspire a love of maths in children. We want to nurture a mastery of maths that will provide children with a deeper understanding of a range of mathematical ideas. We want to encourage and develop our children’s naturally enquiring minds and support their problem solving skills. We believe in the importance of developing conceptual understanding, encouraging children to make connections and explain their reasoning when solving problems. In our maths lessons we strive to develop mathematical fluency by engaging in enriching challenges and conversations that inspire them to test their reasoning and understanding. At Chase Lane we want all children to become confident mathematicians.
In 2016 Chase Lane implemented a new approach to teaching maths that we believe will help to develop our children’s conceptual understanding. We have adopted a Singaporean approach to mathematics, through Maths No Problem, which has problem solving at the heart of its principles.
We believe in a Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach to maths. A potential hurdle to children’s enjoyment of maths is that maths can be too abstract and as a result, difficult to understand. The CPA approach to maths pioneered by American psychologist Jerome Bruner enables children to develop their understanding of abstract ideas through practical experiences first (concrete). At the ‘concrete’ stage children will be solving problems using materials, counters, cubes and other resources. This stage helps to bring concepts alive and help children to make mathematical connections through physical experiences.
Following the development of these skills children will begin to show and solve problems using pictorial representations (pictorial). At the ‘pictorial’ stage children make connections between the physical objects and abstract ideas, by drawing or looking at diagrams, pictures and models that represent a problem.
In the final stage 'abstract’ children are making connections between the physical, pictorial learning and the abstract mathematical symbols. Only once children have a secure understanding of the ‘concrete’ and ‘pictorial’ stages do teachers introduce the mathematical symbols.
This CPA approach enriches our children’s mathematical experiences and helps to develop their conceptual understanding of maths. We believe in the importance of conceptual understanding as we think that it is the best way for children to really understand maths. We recognise the importance of understanding procedures and being able to use them, but we think that with a solid understanding of concepts and good procedural skills, children will become more fluent in maths.
Problem solving and collaboration
At Chase Lane we start every maths lesson with a problem (anchor task). This problem is designed to hook the children’s learning (see examples taken from a selection of year groups below). The problem is solved by the class together through collaborative mathematical discussions; the children are challenged to explain their reasoning and make connections between concepts using knowledge they may already have. At this stage the teacher will facilitate discussions and use questions to challenge their thinking. Collaborative learning is at the core of our approach to mathematical learning. We want children to feel confident explaining their ideas and responding to the ideas of others. The class will then create an anchor chart showing how to solve today’s challenge (see pictures below), we encourage our children to solve and represent problems in a variety of ways in order to develop their mathematical enquiry if we can find more than 2 ways to solve a problem we hail it as a ‘clever day’. The anchor chart created by the class then becomes part of the learning environment which children use to help them solve future problems.
Please take a look at pictures of the children engaging with our maths and some of the anchor charts we create in lessons to show our thinking!
Here are some examples of Year 6's anchor charts, as well as the children's maths journals.